The environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for Rail Baltica’s main route in Estonia has found that the planned route meets the necessary compliance requirements.
Important impact areas assessed by the report included wildlife, noise, energy use, cultural heritage, ambient air, surface water and groundwater.
The assessment was made in parallel with the design of the route, and the report has found that all possible significant environmental impacts are either avoided, mitigated to an insignificant degree or compensable.
“For example, in order to reduce railway noise, various noise barrier solutions will be built on the section for nearly three kilometres (including) wooden or metal noise barrier walls and earth embankments.
“In order to ensure the movement of fauna, one eco-duct is planned for the section, as well as an underpass suitable for big game, sixteen culverts and tunnels for small animals.
“In addition, green strips will be built on the edge of three viaducts crossing the railway.”
These findings mean that Rail Baltica can now begin construction work on the first section of the main railway line – the 15.8-kilometre-long Ülemiste terminal to Kangru route.
The EIA report has set important conditions for carrying out construction activities, which will be monitored during the construction and ongoing operation of the railway.
For example, to protect the bird population the forest along the route will be cut down outside of breeding season, and if necessary, time restrictions will also be applied to construction activities.
In addition, the water level and quality of the wells that remain in the affected area during construction activities must be ensured, and construction materials must be transported and stored in a way that minimises the spread of dust.
Rail Baltic Estonia has now put together its environmental management plan, which includes the mandatory environmental measures tied to the permit as well as its own voluntary set measures.
This will be updated at least once a year or more frequently depending on project developments.
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